North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho wrote, or rewrote, their state constitutions in August 1889.

These documents were remarkably inclusive and progressive: state ownership of water, suffrage from women, curbing the power of the railroads, and eight-hour day for workers.

Over the years, these states welcomed the odd duck and unconventional: Hutterites, Mormons, Mennonites, syncretic New Age communes, doomsday cults, Jewish colonies, and militias. These people did not drift into plains and mountains by accident. They came because of the region’s live-and-let-live attitude.

A reckoning in August illustration

Now, these states are among the most exclusive states in the union. Their current political narrative doesn’t match those envisioned by their founders. It doesn’t promote the values of independence, individualism, or liberty found in these collective constitutions.

How did this happen?

ARTICLE COMING SOON

Non-Fiction books, articles & essays

Samuel Western writes about big-picture economic and demographic trends, the “deeper, slower movement,” as Arnold Toynbee would say. Samuel is also interested in the idea of community and economic history, particularly in the northern Rocky Mountains.


PUSHED OFF THE MOUNTAIN SOLD DOWN THE RIVER

PUSHED OFF THE MOUNTAIN SOLD DOWN THE RIVER

Written on a four-month deadline (lots of 12 hours days involved), Pushed Off the Mountain, Sold Down the River, is one of the best-selling books in Wyoming literary history. Now in its eighth printing, the book documents Wyoming unique and sometimes fabricated history. Along with TA Larson’s History of Wyoming, Pushed Off the Mountain is considered cornerstone work in understanding how and why Wyoming works like it does.

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Solace in Numbers

SOLACE IN NUMBERS

“On the nineteenth of November, 1917, Berton B. Reed booked passage on the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad from Sheridan, Wyoming to Spokane, Washington. The ticket cost $44.08 including $3.53 for a tax covering the war raging in Europe.

The fare did not just cover his personal fare, but included the cost of shipping Mr. Reed’s charge, the body of Edward Augustus Whitney, to a crematorium in Spokane. Whitney had died two days previously in his room above the bank he started in Sheridan.

Reed, a mortician, had seen to Whitney’s embalming, dressing him in a $20.00 funeral suit, preparing him for the journey. Whitney probably did not weigh in excess of 100 pounds. Years of anemia, voluntary malnutrition, and latent pulmonary tuberculosis had worn down Whitney from the 143 pounds he weighed at the peak of his health.”

So begins the story of Wyoming’s eccentric, peripatetic, and successful banker, Edward Whitney.

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wild-fair

WILD & FAIR

“Thomas McIntyre has brought together some of the finest outdoor writers to create this anthology of hunting big game in North America. These original stories cover all North American big-game-from moose and bear in Alaska to sheep and mule deer in the Lower 48; it even contains a hunt for muskox. The writers include Stephen Bodio, author of Eagle Dreams; David Petzal of Field & Stream; Craig Boddington, one of the most famous outdoor writers today; Philip Caputo of the Chicago Tribune (1973 Pulitzer Prize winner) and many more.This book will give you a profound sense of why hunting is such an integral part of the American landscape. It is a grand collection of well-crafted stories on North America’s most sought-after big-game species.”

-Good Reads

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ARTICLES & ESSAYS

ARTICLES


ESSAYS


ECONOMICS OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN WEST


OTHER ARTICLES OF INTEREST